Living in a big city, I often take for granted how easy it is to access amazing resources. Concerts, plays, exhibitions are there to be enjoyed as often as I wish. Over the course of my career, whenever I wanted to learn something new, accessibility to trainings of my choice was never in doubt. However, this is not the case for everyone: depending on where you live, access to trainings is not that easy, especially for small professions like mine.  Although art therapy is well established in some countries including the UK and the USA, many people find it difficult to access introductory and professional trainings.  Internationally, this is even more of an issue:  art therapy in many countries is still relatively unknown and often, there are no established trainings or professional networks. However, I am aware of a worldwide growing interest in art therapy: often, people discover this by themselves and many have been using art therapeutically in their own health, social and educational work. Witnessing its transformative impact on people facing difficult life issues, they have become passionate about this approach and have wanted to learn more, but have been unable to access formal trainings.

The idea to do something about this came to me and my colleague, Lucien Paul Stanfield as far back as 2012.  We wanted to create accessible online quality trainings using all the wealth of experience we have built in the UK over the past fifty years which would be relevant to the different cultural contexts within which people live.  A few years later (which included the completion of my PhD), we are very excited to be launching our first two courses, the art therapy introduction and foundation courses.

Having taught both for many years in workshop settings, I am aware that an experiential group experience is usually an important component of an art therapy Foundation training.  Although we cannot provide this as part of an online training, we have included as many art-based exercises as possible to enrich the learning experience. Importantly, we also offer an opportunity to stay connected so that if they wish, our Foundation alumni can stay connected and learn more through webinars and newsletters.  To this end, we will be developing the role of our International Faculty members, all trained and experienced art therapy specialists in different practice areas. When one feels passionate about art therapy, there is nothing more exciting than exchanging views and ideas with others who feel the same way about it.  Through the Oxford College of Arts and Therapies, we aim to share our passion for art and therapy worldwide.

With best wishes,

Val